Two reported dead in Aberdeen Proving Ground diving accident Tuesday

Two people died as a result of a diving accident at Aberdeen Proving Ground on Tuesday afternoon, the Army confirmed.

The deaths were said to be two Navy divers who were working in the installation's Underwater Explosion Test Facility, also known as the "super pond," where a civilian diver employed by the Army died in an accident on Jan. 30, several Harford County emergency response sources said.

One source said the divers were in cardiac arrest when they surfaced and had been working in the pond on air hoses, not self-contained breathing units, and were tethered to each other.

Shortly before 10 p.m. Tuesday, the Navy confirmed that two Sailors from Mobile Diving and Salvage Unit, (MDSU) Two "died while conducting diving operations in Maryland," according to a news release from the Explosive Ordnance Disposal Group Two, which said it is conducting an investigation into the deaths.

"Emergency personnel from Aberdeen Proving Ground Emergency Services responded to an incident at the Unexploded Ordnance Range pond," the APG Public Affairs Office said in a media advisory issued shortly after 7 p.m. Tuesday. "The incident occurred around 2:30 p.m. One victim was declared deceased at the scene. A second victim was transported to a local medical facility and was pronounced dead."

The names of the deceased are being withheld pending family notification, the advisory said.

The Navy's later news release also said the service members' next of kin had been notified; however, "the names are being withheld for 24 hours in accordance with Navy policy."

No civilian dive teams were called to APG to assist in any rescue or recovery operations, Harford emergency officials said. The volunteer Aberdeen Fire Department did, however, send a unit to the installation to provide backup for APG's regular fire department.

In the previous accident, George H. Lazzaro Jr., 41, from Nottingham in Baltimore County, died while "completing routine underwater test infrastructure maintenance" in the super pond, the Army said at the time. Mr. Lazzaro was employed by Firepower Directorate, part of APG's Aberdeen Test Center that has jurisdiction over the super pond. The cause of death has not been made public.

The super pond is a 150-foot-deep, inland pond near Bush River that is designed for shock testing of marine vessels. The pond was built in the early 1990s.

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